“Mandy, Mandy! Wake up, Mandy!” Wonga woke me up. Yes, Wonga. After being kicked out like a dog in Mr Nkomo’s house, I ran to Wonga’s. It was late, and I wasn’t thinking straight. A lot of things were going through my mind, being homeless was the main thing that made me lose mind. Mr Nkomo refused to let me take Enkosi, because he said I wasn’t going to be able to take care of him. He was right, maybe I had no means to take care of a baby, but leaving him with them broke my heart. How were they going to love him? Were they going to give him the attention he deserved?

I opened my eyes.. “Hey, wake up man. Your phone has been ringing none stop” he said. “My phone!” I sat up and took my phone from the bedside. “I had eight missed calls, from Alex and the time was 9am. I sighed at the thought of letting him down, yet again. The poor guy was only trying to help me, and all I did was to let him down every little chance I got. ” Aah man, I overslept ” I mumbled, trying to send him a please call me. Wonga asked “Mandiphumle, what’s going on?”. I looked at him and faked a smile. “Oh, nothing …” I stopped mid sentence. “Uhm, Mr Nkomo kicked me out” I told him. “What?” he sat on the bed. “Yep. Because I told him the truth about what happened between Sibusiso and I” I explained. “You and Sibusiso? What happened?” he asked. I had nothing to lose, so I told him everything. “Damn!! The bastard!” he said. I cracked a little smile, because I could tell that he believed me. He didn’t doubt me for a second.

My phone rang again, and I picked it up at its first ring. “Hello!!” I picked up. “What is going on with you?” he asked. “Why don’t you just tell me if you don’t need my help?” he asked again. “I’m sorry, Alex. I overslept. Mr Nkomo kicked me out last night,” I apologized. “What? Why?” he asked. “Because I told him the truth about his son. He called me a liar and asked me to pack my bags and go” I explained. “Flip, man. Where did you sleep? How’s the baby?” he asked. “He refused to let me take him. He says I won’t be able to take care of him” I said. “So where did you sleep?” he asked again. “At Wonga’s” I replied. “What?? Wonga the drug addict?” he angrily asked. Wonga was sitting right next to me. “Yes” I uncomfortably answered. “Mandiphumle, how could you? How could you choose a drug addict, of all people?” he asked again. “I was scared and hurt. I didn’t know where else to go” I explained. “Don’t know where else to go?? Mandiphumle, what am I to you? Or you’d rather choose a drug addict over me?” he exploded. “Alex, its not like that” I said, trying to get him to calm down. “What is it like then? How was the sleeping arrangement?” he asked. “That’s if you were not too high to notice” he added. “That’s an insult” I warned. “Not nearly as the fact that you chose a drug addict over me. I feel insulted. After doing everything in my power to show you that I’m willing to do anything for you, you still went and chose a drug addict over me” he responded. That was a bigger deal than I thought. To me, it was just another night at a friend’s place. “Alex, I’m really sorry. I didn’t think of it that way” I apologized, again. “I’m coming over” he said, and hung up. I sighed.

“Trouble in paradise?” Wonga asked. I looked at him. “He’s mad at me for sleeping here” I explained. “Why did you come here? I mean, you have friends in the neighbourhood, including Olwethu, your best friend” he asked. “I came here because I knew you would welcome me with open arms, without asking me anything” I replied. Really, Wonga didn’t ask me anything much. I was a mess when I got there, and couldn’t even talk. He gave up his bed for me, and slept on the floor. “I haven’t seen Olwethu in weeks now. I wasn’t going to just walk into her place and sleep. Besides, she’s probably very busy with her studies” I added. “No, don’t get me wrong. I’m humbled that you chose me. You’re the only person who doesn’t see a drug addict when looking at me” he said, almost getting emotional on me. We talked about it for a while. Wonga was a lonely soul. Even though he hid so well behind the substances, but his soul was lonely and yearned to be loved. While we were talking, someone knocked on the door. Wonga got up and went to open. I got the shock of a lifetime when Alex walked in.

“Alex? I thought you were going to call first” I said. He silently greeted Wonga, and Wonga greeted back. Totally ignoring me. “How’s it?” he asked. “I’m good, man. How are you?” Wonga responded. “I’m good. Listen man, I’m sorry that you had to be bothered like this last night. I wasn’t sure of this house, but I asked around” Alex said. “I wasn’t bothered. Mandy is my friend, and I was more than happy to help her out” Wonga replied. “Alright, cool” Alex said, looking at me. “Can I talk to you?” he asked. “Uuh, let me give you guys some space” Wonga said. “Thank you” said Alex, as Wonga walked out. “What is wrong with you?” he asked. “What is wrong with me? Nothing is wrong with me, Alex. I just spent the night at a friend’s house. That’s all” I replied. “A drug addict. And since when are you friends with Wonga? Just the other day, you couldn’t stand him, and now you’re sleeping with him” he asked. “Wonga and I have become close, and there is nothing wrong with that” I confidently said. “Okay fine, spare me the details. So, I’m here to take you home” he said. “You know Zizo doesn’t like me there” I replied. “So you would rather move in with a drug addict?” he asked. “Just stop calling him that” I burst out. He silently stared at me. “No man, you’re the last person to label people. You know exactly what its like to be called names and to be reduced to something less of a human being. Why would you inflict that pain on someone else?” I asked. He looked down. I knew right then that my words had hit home. “I’m sorry, okay? I don’t know what came over me. The thought of you, falling in love with all this” he said, pointing around Wonga’s room. “That thought scares the shit out of me. I love you” he added. I cleared my throat, getting out of bed.. “I’m sorry too. For making you feel like you were not my first choice” I apologized. He held me by my waist area and pulled me closer to him. “Come, let’s go home. I will handle Zizo” he convinced me. I agreed. Its not like I had anywhere else to stay anyway.

He carried my bags for me and we walked out of Wonga’s room. As we walked towards the car, we saw Wonga appearing from Mr Nkomo’s direction. “Wonga, we were just about to leave!” I yelled. He walked up to us. “What? So you were going to leave without seeing me?” he disappointedly asked. “We couldn’t see you” I explained. “Wow man, so you were even going to leave my room wide open” he said. ” I sorry. I didn’t think anyone would want to steal from you” I apologized. Alex silently got into the car, while I was still apologizing and explaining to Wonga. “Apology accepted. I’m going to miss you man” he said. “I’ll miss you too” we shared a hug. After saying my goodbyes to him, I got into the car and we drove off..

Upon arrival at their home, Alex parked his car and got my luggage out of the car. I went to my old room and threw myself on my bed. Alex came to join me. “How are you feeling?” he asked. I shrugged my shoulders. “The past few weeks have been hell for me. A lot has happened and I’m still trying to wrap my head around all these changes” I replied. “I can imagine. I’m sorry you had to go through all that” he politely sympathized with me. “Now that you are here, I want you to focus on your sessions with the psychiatrist. I want you to work on your wellbeing for the remaining months of this year. Next year, you are going back to school so you have to be in a good mental space” he said. “I just want my brother here, next to me. I don’t trust Mr Nkomo anymore” I told him. “Don’t worry, we will get him back. Let’s get you to settle in first” he assured me. He ran his hand down my cheek. “I love you” he said. “I love you too. Thank you for always being there for me” I replied. We talked until we fell asleep in each other’s arms.

Later, Chukwudi woke us up. “Guys, wake up!!” he said, repeatedly until we woke up. “Hey, bro” Alex said. “Don’t hey bro me, Alex. What is going on here?” he asked. “Whoa! You know what’s going on here. Chill” Alex said. Chukwudi sat on the bed too. “Mandy, how are you?” he asked. “I’m okay thanks, and you?” I replied. “I’m good. I’m just concerned. What exactly is going on here?” he asked. Alex and I uncomfortably looked at each other. “No, I’m asking because I feel I deserve to be informed and I hate the fact that Alex assumes that I automatically know” he explained. “Mandy and I are in a relationship” Alex replied. “In a relationship? Since when?” he asked. “Its been a while now,” Alex replied again. “Mandy, I’m going to be completely honest with you. When I saw you that night, running down that road, naked, I saw someone I could bring home and turn into a little sister. I saw someone I could help reshape her life. What you guys are doing is beyond me. Its beyond me and I am disappointed in the way things turned out” he poured his heart out. “You, leaving and going to stay with someone else was okay with me, because it was only your wellbeing that mattered the most. For you to sneak in and out of our home like this, really, I’m not happy” he added. “Chukwudi, this is all my fault. I’m the one who saw someone i could spend my life with, in who you brought home as a little sister. I crossed the line, I admit. What you should know though is that I love her so much and I’m ready to settle down with her” Alex announced. “She’s a child, Alex. How can you settle down with a child?” he asked. “For Mandy, this could be just a phase” he added. I cleared my throat. “Uhm, I love him too and I’m quite certain that this is not just a phase” I said. “You are 18, what do you know about love?” he asked. “Guys, I love you both. I’m trying to protect you from each other. When you hurt each other, I will hurt more. Please, don’t do this” he begged. He literally begged us to make sure we loved each other. We managed to assure him that we loved each other and were willing to make it work.

At dinner. Zizo was dead quiet, as usual. Chukwudi made the announcement about me my relationship with Alex. Zizo reacted negatively, as expected. She went on about how heartless Alex was, to leave a pregnant woman over a “clueless child”. Alex dealt with her, and told her the things she already knew about the pregnant woman she was advocating for. As we were talking, I felt some cramps in my lower abdomen. “Mmmhm” I softly moaned.. The cramps went away. They all looked at me. “Are you okay?” Alex asked. I nodded, faking a smile. “So guys, if you’re sure about this and you say you have everything under control, then you have my blessings” Chukwudi announced. “Thanks, bro. You don’t know how much that means to us” said Alex. The cramps came back, stronger than the last time. “Aaaaah!!!” I screamed. I couldn’t even breathe properly. I instantly got sweaty. “Mandy??? What’s going on???” Chukwudi screamed.. “Quick! Let’s carry her to the car!” one of them said. I was slowly zoning out of consciousness .. “Blood! There’s blood” Zizo screamed. I don’t remember what happened next..

The next thing I knew, I woke up on a hospital bed and Alex was sleeping next to my bed, holding my hand. I gently moved and he woke up. “You’re awake!” he excitedly said. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you up” I apologized. He smiled. “I wasn’t really sleeping” he said. “So how are you feeling? Gosh, you scared me” he asked. “I’m feeling a little light headed, but I’m fine. What happened?” I asked. “You collapsed” he said. “What did the doctors say?” I asked. “They didn’t tell me, because I’m not family, and my connections don’t stretched up to this far” he jokingly replied. The doctor walked in, while Alex was still filling me in. He requested to have a word with me, and Alex walked out. “How are you feeling now?” he asked. “Apart from feeling light headed, I’m okay” I said. He nodded. “You were so lucky that you were brought in sooner. We managed to save your bundle of joy” he excitedly announced. My heart nearly stopped. “,Bundle of what? What are you talking about?” I asked, with a shaky voice. “Oh, I’m sorry. Uhm, you, little miss are five weeks pregnant. Congratulations”…..